Petitioning subjects: miscegenation in Okinawa from 1945 to 1952 and the crisis of sovereignty
ABSTRACT This paper tells a story about miscegenation between U.S. military personnel and Okinawan women from 1945-1952, which includes sexual violence, establishment of “entertainment districts,” and emergence of international marriage. Whereas this history has been a highly exploitable topic for leftists to mobilize as a truth-weapon in the struggle for political sovereignty from the U.S. military, this paper takes an explicitly genealogical approach. Drawing on Foucault’s work on biopower, this paper shows how Okinawans were transformed into “petitioning subject”—subjects that negotiated the sexual exploitation of their bodies in tandem with the radically changing relationship between their bodies and the territory.
KEYWORDS: Okinawa, miscegenation, postcolonial studies, biopower
Annmaria Shimabuku 島袋まりあis an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages at University of California, Riverside where she teaches Japanese language, literature, and thought. She completed course requirements for the Ph.D. program without dissertation in Sociology at Tokyo University in 2004, and earned a Ph.D. in East Asian Literature from Cornell University in 2010. She is committed to a bilingual address, and has consistently published articles in Japanese and English since 2001. Currently she is working on her book manuscript, Securing Okinawa for Miscegenation.